Mod Sun Comes Home And Brings Amazing Show With Him


It was a long week of work, trying to keep up with a social calendar and shows. I was exhausted by the time Sunday afternoon hit and was honestly on the fence about even going to a show on Sunday night. The only thing that got me off the couch and into my car was the promise of an amazing and energetic show from headliner Mod Sun who have seen a couple of times before and, although not my normal type of music, never lets me down when it comes to his live show. So I got off the couch, got in my car, and headed to my home away from home- First Avenue.

The typical way First Avenue shows work is that a show will start an hour after the doors open. Sadly, that’s not the way last night worked and my poor planning led to me missing the first of many opening acts for this show but I was through the doors in time to see Pablo Dylan take the stage. I was instanly confused if I’m being quite honest. Pablo’s style was a country drenched folk vibe with a kind of bad boy undertone to it. Doing research this morning on this Pablo character, I wasn’t super surprised to learn that Pablo is Bob Dylan’s grandson. Another fact about him that didn’t shock me is that he recently traded in his rap career for a more folksinger type vibe. That’s when everything made sense from his music to the reasoning for him being a part of this show. His set, along with all of the other openers, was far too short for me to really get into his music but I saw and heard potential that I would absolutely love to see again soon.

New Hippys was up next and I have to be honest, I couldn’t find much online about them and knew nothing about the members of this apparent collective (at least it came off as a collective) so please bear with me as I stumbled through this. Basically, the New Hippys’ set was a constant flow of different rappers to the stage each bringing a different vibe with them. From Winter Havens to LostInVegas to a couple of more performers that I didn’t catch the name of, the almost constant change in vocalist made the already quick set a bit harder to follow than usual but I seemed to be alone in the confusion. The rest of the audience seemed to be huge fans of all of the men that took the stage and that added a sense of excitement to the quick set that I wasn’t quite expecting. I wish I could go into more detail for each of the rapper’s songs but honestly the twenty minute set was jam packed and, as mentioned, I struggled to keep up, but I will absolutely be doing some more research into this group and the individuals behind it.

The excited and packed audience was treated to a quick set from local phenomenon Bobby Raps as the final opening act for the night. I caught Bobby Raps a couple of months ago and although his lyrics are a bit harsh for my liking, I love his style. He looks more like a metal head than anything else and has a very laissez faire vibe about him when he takes the stage but there’s no denying his talent as soon as he starts spitting lines of words so fast that it’ll make your head spin. With his hands in his pockets majority of this set, Bobby Raps had the audience cheering and screaming between the few songs he did and, with the help of his DJ, DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip, set the stage perfectly for headliner Mod Sun.

I fell into the world of Derek Smith (AKA Mod Sun) for multiple reasons like the fact that he was in Four Letter Lie and Scary Kid Scaring Kids (both emo bands from back in the day that I obsessed over) and the fact that he is from Minnesota (although he also spent time in California which definitely helps explain his sound a little bit). Regardless, I like the guy but his music isn’t exactly what I typically get down with. That being said, his live show is absolutely something I get down with and as soon as he hit the stage, any exhaustion I had been feeling was gone and I got lost in his music, his energy, and the excited audience.

The music of Mod Sun is somehow both in your face and extremely calming at the same time. His time spent in California comes across loud and clear with his laid back beats and almost happy-go-lucky attitude on stage but his hard working midwestern sensibility comes off loud and clear as well with the way he moves from the microphone to the keyboard to the audience without skipping a beat. Mod Sun is absolutely an entertainer and a showman but, more than that, he’s talented and has something interesting to offer to his audience that will always keep me coming back whether it’s my typical cup of tea or not.

There were a million amazing moments throughout Mod Sun’s headlining set but my favorite would have to be when he brought his mom up on stage with him. Sure, he’s no longer just that kid from Bloomington, Minneosta nor has he been for awhile, but as I watched him and his mom on stage, it was a good reminder that as long as you have passion and heart, you can truly go anywhere you want. Mod Sun’s music isn’t for everyone but that message is and it was a beautiful exclamation point for an already pretty damn good night of music.